The Apocalypse of the Virgin

Not sure if this goes here but…

This is obviously apocryphal, but I happened to find this while skimming New Advent. Has anyone seen this or have any idea when this was written? While this is apocryphal it’s still kinda neat as it delves into what early pious writing was like.

:shrug: Nope. Some of this stuff is interesting, but you gotta be careful to avoid Gnostic craziness and such.

It’s pretty odd and not really very informative. Sorry, but meh…

Let’s just say that the Apocalypse of the Virgin is the most neglected work among Christian apocalypses. There are at least two to four versions of this work, all of them involving Mary seeing a vision of Hell, which leads her to intercede for the souls who suffer therein (her prayers earn the suffering souls a temporary respite from their torments.) Some versions are included as appendices to works which describe the Dormition - so that Mary is given a tour of Heaven and Hell when she had passed away.

Most of these versions borrow from (or were influenced by) a 3rd-century Christian apocalyptic work known as the Apocalypse of Paul (you shouldn’t confuse this particular Apocalypse of Paul with a gnostic work of the same name - quite a lot of ancient works often share the same names, which can be quite confusing), so these apocalypses were probably composed after the 3rd-4th century - perhaps somewhere between the 4th century to the 9th.

Whoever wrote the Apocalypse of Paul in turn seems to have been influenced by yet another Christian work, the Apocalypse of Peter (2nd century), which was at one time considered to be authoritative by some Christians - one of the two works belonging to the apocalyptic genre to enjoy such a distinction (the other is - as you might have guessed - John’s Revelation).

No gnostic would ever write stuff like:

Then the Lord of all things said: ‘Hearken, all you sinners and righteous men: I made paradise and made man after my image: but he transgressed, and for his own sins was delivered to death: but I did not suffer the works of my hands to be tyrannized over by the serpent: wherefore I bowed the heavens and came down and was born of Mary, the holy undefiled Mother of God, that I might set you free: I was baptised in Jordan in order that I might save the creature (nature) which had grown old under sin: I was nailed to the cross to free you from the ancient curse: I asked for water and you gave me vinegar mingled with gall: I was laid in the grave: I trampled on the enemy: I raised up mine elect, and even thus ye would not hear me. But now, because of the prayer of my mother Mary, because she has wept much for your sake, and because of Michael my archangel, and because of the multitude of my saints, I grant you to have rest on the day of Pentecost to glorify the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’

Besides, the work is too late to be written by the classic 2nd-3rd century gnostic sects like the Sethians or the Valentinians, and it shows strong Marian overtones.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit